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Thursday, January 14, 2016

What to do about Biafra

~TheGuardian, Nigeria.

WHEN Lt Col Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu declared the former Eastern Region the Republic of Biafra there were 18 military installations in the country before the 1966 coup, according to Major Abubakar A. Atofarati. They were 14 in Northern Nigeria, three in Western Nigeria and only one, the 1st Battalion, Enugu in Eastern Nigeria. So it was clear at the start of the war that the dice was heavily loaded against the Eastern Region.

Ojukwu probably thought that the big powers would support Biafra because of their revulsion against the pogrom that occurred in Northern Nigeria. The second reason was that the Eastern Region carried substantial crude oil in its bowels and the big powers would probably like to intervene on the side of oil. That did not happen. Only five countries, Gabon, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Zambia and Haita, all of them with nondescript credentials in the power game recognised Biafra. As we all know Biafra collapsed irretrievably after 30 bloody months.

So far there have been three still born republics in Nigeria; Isaac Adaka Boro started the Niger Delta Republic before the civil war. He took up arms and gathered his ragtag army and told them: "The war of liberation is on. A Niger Delta Republic is declared." His republic lived for 12 days only before the long arm of the bigger republic caught up with him. The second still born republic, Biafra, was declared by Ojukwu. It lasted for 30 months. The third still-born republic was declared by a brilliant medical doctor, Major Albert Okonkwo, who was in the Biafran Army. Even though the people of the Mid-West were not interested in being dragged into the war Okonkwo seized their territory and declared it the Republic of Benin. This republic, like the others before it, also crumbled like a cook-book cake.

What makes Ralph Uwazuruike (MASSOB) and Nnamdi Kanu (IPOB) think that their own republic will survive? But first, should we take them seriously? Olusegun Obasanjo thinks we should not. He says: "This is a fake agitation. These are boys who want to take people unawares and get money out of people in the name of Biafra. The people who are doing this are the same people in 419 business. They are the same people you will find in drugs all over the world. To them this is another source of making money." This may well be so because even some of those who have contributed money to the cause have expressed some doubts about the integrity of the agitation.

One Chioma Amaryllis, who says she was a Public Relations Manager of Radio Biafra and Kanu's girlfriend, has released a video denouncing Kanu and his gang. She says she hails from Mbaise in Imo State, but lives in the United States and had donated a lot of her hard-earned money to Kanu. But on coming to Nigeria she found nothing on the ground to show it was a serious business. She calls it a fraud. It may well be so but the Biafra agitation has developed a life of its own and it is out of their hands now. It has followers in Nigeria and the Diaspora who are donating money for the cause.
If Ojukwu did not win what makes Uwazuruike and Kanu think they will, arms or no arms?
A few years ago when the idea was an infant, a senior security official had sought my opinion of the group. I suggested that he should engage them in a conversation so as to find out what was biting them. He shouted "No way," the equivalent of what we would call in street language "tufiakwa" (God forbid). I asked myself if he already had a stone-solid and irrevocable view on the matter why did he seek my opinion. I answered that he was probably looking for an opinion that will reinforce his own and therefore reduce what social scientists call "dissonance." Unfortunately, he did not get it from me.

Over the years, the Federal Government has initiated several policies aimed at national integration. Such policies include Creation of States, the National Youth Service Corps programme and the Federal Character Commission, among others. Unhappily, these efforts have not brought the desired fruits because some of these policies, for example, state creation, only succeeded in creating new problems of their own.

The main problem is that our Federation is too centralised to be truly useful. You do not prescribe homogeneous solutions for a heterogeneous entity and expect them to work. For this Federation to work seamlessly, it must go through a serious measure of political and fiscal restructuring. We need a new architecture that will involve reducing federal responsibility in education, health, roads, water resources, policing, transportation, industrialisation, agriculture, mining, power etc.

It is obvious that the Federal Government cannot cope with its present responsibilities. State governments now repair federal roads, fund federal universities, federal health centres, and funds the Nigeria Police Force which is federal, sometimes with a refund and sometimes without. Whether there is a refund or not there is evidence that the Federal Government does not have the wherewithal to deal with these heavy responsibilities. This neglect resonates in the states and the state governments bear the brunt of the agitations for an improved standard of living by these young agitators.

However, it is the states of the federation, not the Federal Government, that have the primary responsibility of improving the living standards of their people. All the states receive "awoof" money from the Federation account every month. Here is how the Ibo States stand in the sharing ranking: Imo 15th, Abia 17th, Anambra 19th, Enugu 29th and Ebonyi 36th. Ogun State is 25th and Cross River State is 30th yet both states appear to be doing much better than the Ibo States. Why? It is because both states are high in internally generated revenue (IGR) and perhaps better management of their resources.

In IGR, Cross River State is 7th while Ogun State is 8th. The Ibo States: Enugu 9th, Anambra 14th, Imo 16th, Abia 31st and Ebonyi 33rd. This poor ranking of the Ibo States in IGR obviously affects their standing in the human development Index (HDI). This index comprises three main pillars among others. They are poverty, education and health. States that lead in this area are Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Lagos and that is because they also lead particularly in IGR. In IGR Lagos is first, Rivers 2nd and Akwa Ibom 6th. In the HDI, Abia is 11th, Imo 12th, Enugu 13th, Anambra 25th and Ebonyi 28th. This means that the five Ibo states must pay particular attention to raising their IGR substantially as well as investing their funds in life-lifting enterprises for the benefit of their citizens.

The agitations for Biafra are basically concentrated in their domains even though it seems ostensibly aimed at drawing federal attention to their wish list. If the agitation escalates the first casualties will be their citizens and their businesses that have been disrupted many times now. If there is no peace how then can they govern?

I am almost certain that the Biafra agitators know that they will not get Buhari's blessings for a republic of Biafra. Buhari fought the war to prevent the bifurcation of Nigeria. He will not like to see Nigeria dismembered. Ojukwu threw in every wit and weapon and even promised that "even the grass will fight." In the part of Biafra where I was I didn't see the grass fight. I only saw the grass suffer.

If Ojukwu did not win what makes Uwazuruike and Kanu think they will, arms or no arms? Their agitation has gained considerable attention already and will receive, believe it or not, some attention from the Buhari government. Some people think the long ignored second Niger Bridge which is now on the priority list of Buhari's Administration is a beneficiary of the agitation. I have no way of knowing if it is true or not.

What should we do? (a) The Army is talking of crushing them. They are unarmed and the talk of crushing unarmed civilians in a democracy is revolting. Don't crush them because they are not palm kernels. (b) Some people have suggested they should be ignored. Obasanjo tried that method with the Niger Delta agitators, calling them criminals. He said he wasn't going to talk to criminals but when their agitation reduced Nigeria's oil production from 2.2 million barrels a day to 700,000 he begged them to come for a meeting. He put Asari Dokubo in a presidential suite and pampered him.

That conversation he had with them led to Umaru Yar'Adua's amnesty programme. Now the guns have fallen silent and there is an outbreak of peace in the Niger Delta. (c) Engage them in a conversation, I vote for this approach. In the first place, it is only a discussion with them that will bring out their grievances. There is the African proverb that says you cannot barb a man's hair in his absence.

As I have already said, the agitation has developed a life of its own but the agitators will not have the republic they are asking for. Refusing to talk to them is the equivalent of pouring petrol on the problem. The flame can turn into a conflagration we can do without.

No comments:


I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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